Souls Calling

Put Your Soul’s Calling into Action

(Part 3 of a series. See also: Follow Your Soul’s Calling and
Soul Reflections on Long Winter Nights

In this articles series we’ve explored how to uncover your soul’s calling by tapping you’re your spiritual GPS system. This soul-searching process is not a one time shot, but an ongoing process. Each time you enter into this process you can go deeper and achieve more clarity.

You don’t have to wait for the low energy season of winter to do this, however. Each month at the time of the new moon (opposite the full moon) the lowered energy is conducive to doing spiritual introspection.  But just like the season of winter turns into the action oriented growing seasons of spring and summer, you have the opportunity to ride the tide of nature and put your soul-searching into action so you can fulfill your soul’s calling.

When you’ve done your inner work you are ready to take the next step in deciding how you want your life to look and what you need to do to make that happen in 2010. Engage your GPS to design an overarching theme that speaks to your soul’s calling for what you want to accomplish in the coming year.

Anchor your calling

Create a phrase, like an affirmation or mantra, to describe the essence. My phrase is, “I find passion and meaning in life – and celebrate the “real me”!” This mantra describes how I live and the meaningful work I do in coaching, teaching, writing, and interviewing and recording people’s stories. Yours might be, “I bring passion and creativity to my work and my family.” “I care for my spirit with healthy eating and yoga practice.” “My work helps make the world a better place.” “Everyday I find meaning and love in my life.”

You may want to strategically place an object, photograph, or the phrase itself as a reminder to keep you focused on your calling. Start and end your day with this phrase and think of it periodically during the day, especially when handling challenges, to help you stay focused on your dreams and goals.

Create an action plan

1.    Start with the end in mind. Write down what you really want. Be specific – desired weight, income, job description, debt-reduction plan, vacation, etc.

2.   Put in time-frames for achieving your goals or dreams.

3.   Use visual and auditory cures to keep you focused: anchors, motivational or spiritual CD’s. Sharing with supportive friends.

Accountability factor
Most people never achieve their goals and dreams. The real challenge is in maintaining accountability. Who or what will help you stay true to your goals so you can welcome opportunities and live true to your inner guidance? Most of us need others to provide support and cheer us on. A spouse, partner, sibling, friend, coach or counselor can help you stay on course.

When you work with your spiritual GPS system to connect with your heart’s desire for your soul’s calling, you create an inner accountability. You think it, feel it, breathe it and live it. When you follow your soul’s calling, you know that you and your life matters, and that you make a difference every day.

Let the coming year be the time you choose to start anew. You have a clean slate to make a fresh start. You are the inventor of your life. What do you aspire to this year? May it be true to the real you!

Questions to ponder

*   Do you know your calling?

*   Hare you anchored it?

*   Do you have a plan?

*   Have you established a support/accountablity system?

If not, let’s talk. Your future begins NOW.

(Part 3 of a series. See also: Follow Your Soul’s Calling and
Soul Reflections on Long Winter Nights

Your passions

Follow Your Soul’s Calling

Part 1 of a series. See also: Soul Reflections for Long Winter Nights
and Put your Soul’s Calling into Action

 

It’s not just a new year but a new decade as well. Life is waiting with new opportunities for you. You have a choice to live more aligned with the real you and what your soul is calling you to do, or stay on the same course as before. This is an important checkpoint to ask: What’s happened for you over the last decade? What have you accomplished and what have you missed?

It’s also a time to ask what do you really WANT for your life? What’s the REAL story? What’s your DREAM? What are you doing with your life? These are questions I want you to consider as you read this series of articles.

In the vast immensity of the universe, our existence is like a mere spark – hardly noticeable. Yet there is a Divine spark that animates us all. In the words of Jane Goodall, You make a difference every day. You matter and life is important.It’s never too late to make a life course correction or even move in a whole new direction and make a difference in your small part of the world.

What is your Soul’s calling?
Metaphorically speaking, your soul holds your deepest truths. It’s your authentic self that often lies beneath layers of excess baggage that weighs you down and holds you back from realizing an abundant life – a life that is true to your dreams. It’s the part of you that cries out to maximize your gifts and talents. It’s the expression of your deepest purpose and your heart’s desire. It’s also home to your spiritual GPS.

Tap your spiritual GPS
You have an inner guidance system, your spiritual GPS,  that holds the truth about who you really are at your core. This system connects to your Higher Power and provides instructions and guidelines for making better choices that will lead you down rewarding pathways. However, it can’t really speak to you if your dark inner closets are cluttered with unfulfilled dreams, unmet goals, long-lasting hurts and regrets. Brush off the cobwebs of those dreams and goals and examine them in the light for future potential.

Hurts and regrets can require an ongoing process of forgiveness work – for yourself and others. The more you do this work, the easier you are able to adapt to future situations. Adaptation is an important trait for navigating our modern, changing world. I was in a very loving relationship for several years, one that seemed destined for life. Then suddenly it was over. This experience challenged me to walk my talk. After all, if I teach others to live every precious moment, then I must do the same. Within a remarkably short time, I was able to restore myself to wholeness — with cherished memories and no regrets. Doing the inner work frees you to live a fuller and more meaningful life.

Questions to Ponder

*    Do you want to discover your soul’s calling in the coming year?
*    Have you cleared the clutter of unfulfilled dreams, unmet goals and long-lasting hurts?
*    Are you ready to use your spiritual GPS to gain guidance in discovering your heart’s desire?

Read next in series: Soul Reflections on a Long Winter’s Night

Passionate Living into Midlife and Beyond

Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., once captured the essence of youth when he wrote, “In our youth our hearts are loaded with fire.” Youth, by nature, tend to be fearless and daring, filled with dreams and ambitions. They are like sponges absorbing every sensation as they seek their identity and life purpose. In adulthood, youthful passions fade, as we deal with day-to-day responsibilities of work, family, obligations. Certain life transitions, such as the loss of jobs, relationships or the death of a loved one can zap our fire even more.

I believe, however, that life longs to flow through us, and we all have the capacity to open our channels to rekindle passions or discover new ones–at any stage of life. I also believe it is our responsibility to do so.

What is passionate living?

To live passionately is to live with a sense of purpose, to engage in activities that you care about, that help you feel in “the zone”; when you lose track of time and are at one with the activity. It may be times when you feel great joy or inspiration such as being in nature.  It may be doing something that requires great hardship, as Mahatma Gandhi experienced. “Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into ineffable joy,” wrote Gandhi.

Passion is an expression of aliveness and giving of self. To be passionate is to be ruled by intense emotions such as boundless enthusiasm, excitement, inspiration or love. But passion can also be expressed as anger, envy, or even violence. Both extremes of our passions can “rule” our lives, leaving us feeling out of sync and out of control. Yet when we live with consciousness and mindfulness, our passions (or lack of them) can teach us who we are, where we belong, and where our passion lies. This learning can guide and enrich us, even as we traverse life’s inevitable challenges.

Explore your passions

Passion in midlife and beyond is grounded in wisdom that is focused purposefully. To live a fulfilling life with purpose, it’s important to explore what you truly care about, what gives your life meaning, and what is the legacy you wish to leave behind. Your life, no matter how seemingly ordinary, is extraordinary. You have great wisdom that can be shared with others. When old belief patterns are stripped of negative limitations, you become liberated–able to resurrect old dreams or create new ones. When you examine your life experiences, lessons learned, and the inventory of your gifts and skills, you can discover your true calling.

In The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50“, author Sara Lawrence Lightfoot uncovered in those she interviewed a sense of urgency about the finiteness of life. They were not only doing the things that had been left undone, but were also engaged in new learning, inspiring curiosity, innovation, and resourcefulness. They were exploring ways to reinvent themselves. Their wisdom encouraged them to become better listeners and more patient and to have the courage to speak their truth.

Get enthused

The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek “entheos, ” which means “in god, or to be “possessed” or “inspired.” “When do you experience enthusiasm? If you are not in touch with your passions, try taking the following steps:

* Think of the people you know who have enthusiasm about what they do.
What characteristics do they have in common?
* Examine a newspaper–every news item, editorial, ad, or entertainment
feature. Which items grab you?
* Think back over your life looking for clues about when you felt enthused.
Pay special attention to events before age 11 before habits become ingrained.
* Consider the things that excite you or anger you most.
* Ask yourself why you get up in the morning.

Blueprint for vital living

1. Identity: Reflect on your life stories to help you know who you are.
3. Passion:
Determine what you care about and are called to do in life
3. Meaning:
Know that what you stand for and what you value provides fuel to keep your passion alive.
4. Place: Based on the above, where do you fit in and with whom?

 

Richard Leider and David Shapiro speak of growing “whole not old”. InPassionate Living their book Claiming Your Place by the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose, they pose four aspects to explore for vital living: We live more passionately when we understand the deeper spiritual meaning of our lives. At any time of life it is valuable to take time for reflection, to evaluate what you have accomplished–or not–and create a new vision for where to go next. Is it a new career? A service opportunity or a new or unfulfilled dream? The authors of the books I’ve mentioned stress the importance of engaging in cross-generational activities. Wise elders can be inspired by the passions of youth, as they model, teach, and mentor younger generations.

I believe we should banish the word retirement, which means “withdrawal.” It has no passion or life in it. Everything you do matters. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “…to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”


Questions to ponder:

* Where do you find passion in your life, or do you find yourself saying, “I’m not passionate about anything”?

*  What unfulfilled dreams are sitting in your dark closet?

*  What would it feel like if you could live with more joy and passion?

I invite you to share your share your thoughts

Harmonize–R as in Responsibility

Whenever I am able or feel called, I seek ways to transform disharmonyresponsibilities and competence. into harmony. Life is chock-full of responsibilities to our family, relationships, job, community and country, as well as to our health and well-being. We each must find our own path where we can best apply our skills, talents and capabilities. Every responsibility has its challenges, requiring us to dance between stress and harmony, seeking balance and resolution. The truer we are to our own nature, what we care about and what’s important to us, the easier it is to fulfill our responsibilities.

Responsibility is an action word whose roots are “response” and “able.” A responsible person is reliable, dependable and trustworthy. They are people who answer the call when you need them. Living responsibly requires you to be flexible to life and the needs around you. It asks you to examine your capabilities and then to respond accordingly.

Trust can only be earned when you demonstrate you have the ability to do the job and come from a place of truthfulness and honesty. Thus your actions are not based on, “I have to,” but rather “I want to,” from a place of caring and/or compassion. If resentment contaminates your thoughts and feelings, your actions will reflect this and trust can be lost. Living true to your own nature, honoring your values, purpose and beliefs, you make better choices in determining where you want to put your energies.

Maintaining Harmony and Balance

Often responsibilities are thrust upon us when we feel we have no choice, or, they become greater than we could have imagined. Early this year I discovered that Mae, an 89 year old family friend, was declining and needed to move into senior housing. With no children to help her, I felt compelled to take on the responsibility of helping her make this transition. Little did I know that this would later turn into becoming her caregiver, helping her handle her financial affairs and ongoing healthcare issues.

Helping Mae, has required me to rearrange my work schedule and personal life around her needs and issues. I do this both because I care about her and because I know she couldn’t do this alone. I am also mindful of my ability to serve that need and make a difference. While seeking to create harmony in her life, however, I am constantly being mindful of maintaining harmony and balance in my own.

The analogy of flying in an airplane and putting the oxygen mask on oneself first, then on those less capable, is a great lesson in the dance of fulfilling our responsibilities. More and more baby boomers, often referred to as the “sandwich generation,” are finding themselves in the midst of care giving at both ends – for children and elders.

A key component to harmonizing your life pathways with responsibilities is to consciously discover ways to feel gratitude for having the opportunity to do the job, help someone achieve a result or make a difference.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

What challenges do you have in handling responsibilities?

What possible changes you could make?

What ways have you been able to harmonize your life while handling responsibilities?

Check out my HARMONIZE  formula for a balanced and harmonious life.